Thursday, January 21, 2010

A Weird Week

This is a weird week, and it's not only the storms--four in a row, thus far--that keep slamming into the coastline from the west. Each brings, it seems, a heavier rainfall along with it. No, it's also the rhythm of the week which is all off. In the normal course of events we head up to Los Angeles from the beach on Sunday afternoon or Monday, and return to Laguna usually on Friday. Well, sometimes Thursday, if we're lucky. This week it was back to Los Angeles Sunday, then back again on Tuesday afternoon to be here in time for that Wednesday breakfast meeting; and back up north Wednesday morning, early enough to avoid the arrival of that day's storm. The evening brought the gala opening of the Los Angeles Art Fair (more below), from which we got back home at around 11PM. A walk around the hill early this morning, in the blustery winds that announced the imminent arrival of the next attack, and off immediately after breakfast, headed for the beach in nice time to arrive in Laguna Beach at the same time as the front edge of the storm. A very wet moment to unload the car.

I have a couple of days to look forward to in the sanctuary of the cottage, waiting out the remaining waves of rain. Saturday is supposed to be dry and sunny, but who knows? I leave in the morning for Los Angeles again, for a scheduled book-signing event at the art fair. Then back again to Laguna that same evening. It's all very bewildering--and not the least bewildered among the three of us is George. Not only is the rhythm all off, not only does he suffer the indignity of having to be toweled off each time he returns from his pee- or poop-walk, not only does he have to be man-handled in and out of the car--quite apart from all this, he's missing his regular ball-chases, whether down here in the park at the Top of the World or in our L.A. garden. He sits by the door at his usual times and wants to know what's wrong with us, that we're not catering to his habits.

The gala opening of the art fair was, well, an event. It began with a round of speeches to which, so far I could tell, not a single person listened; followed by a raucous performance by a song-and-dance group that tumbled down the long steps at the Convention Center into the crowd of champagne-sipping art enthusiasts--a long procession of musicians, blaring music unlike any I have ever heard before, a joyful, celebratory sound that was not band music, nor jazz, nor anything like classical--trombones, trumpets and saxophones blaring in gloriously exuberant cacophony...

... backed up by an odd assortment of drums and other timpani and a dozen or more squeeze boxes. This motley band was followed down the steps by a shimmering troupe of dancers...

... all clad in masks and brilliantly-colored, string costumes that quivered individually and unison as they moved. Once down at plaza level, the ensemble blasted out their music and the dancers bobbed and weaved for a good ten minutes before retreating back up the steps whence they had come. As you can tell, I managed only a few hopelessly inadequate pictures on my IPhone:

Once among the booths, we checked in with our friends at the Artscene booth before grabbing a bite to eat on the fly and heading out on to the floor of the Convention Center, where dealers from throughout the world were assembled to show their stuff. Generally speaking I have to say that the quality of work was disappointing, though with some exceptional highlights. Given my beef about art and commerce, I find it always a somewhat surreal experience to be in a place where a hundred and more galleries display their wares and dealers hang out, hoping to grab the attention of a potential customer. This is the market at its crassest, with a zillion artworks displayed higgledy-piggledy on makeshift walls, such that it's virtually impossible to see any of it. Still, a good spirit seemed to prevail, and we ran into a god number of old friends whose faces we had not seen in far too long. All in all, it was an entertaining evening, and one that reminded us of our good fortune in knowing so many good people involved in what we too glibly refer to as the art scene.

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